We can’t avoid growing older—but we can take steps to help slow down the clock. Take this short quiz to learn more about how your lifestyle may affect how quickly you age, plus some simple steps you can take to start feeling younger.
1. What is your diet like?
Choosing nutritious and minimally processed foods and keeping your portions in check can help you maintain a healthy weight – and play a powerful role in lowering your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
A. I don’t give my diet much thought, but I guess I’m a meat-and-potatoes type.
B. I try to stick to whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. But I like to treat myself to a glass of wine or dessert sometimes, too.
C. I eat as healthy as I possibly can. I stick to a low-fat diet and I avoid sweets and alcohol.
2. How often do you exercise?
Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even certain cancers. But that’s not all. A recent Australian analysis of nearly 50 studies on exercise and cognitive decline concluded that regular physical activity can lower your risk of developing dementia by nearly 20%.
A. I rarely exercise.
B. I try to work in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
C. I exercise every day for at least an hour—and sometimes more—no matter what.
3. How much sleep are you getting?
A good night’s sleep can help you feel your best. When you sleep, your body works to repair muscles, strengthen your immune system and process memories.
A. I usually get 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night.
B. I get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
C. I go to bed early and am able to get closer to 10 hours per night.
4. How stressed do you feel on most days?
Chronic tension and anxiety can damage your health by increasing your risk of depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Emotional or psychological stress may also cause you to age faster.
A. I feel stressed most of the time.
B. I get frazzled sometimes, but I feel that my stress is mostly under control.
C. I almost never feel stressed.
5. How would you describe your social ties?
Satisfying relationships with family, friends and community members can help reduce stress levels, which can benefit your overall health. Also, one American study that looked at over 300,000 participants found having a robust social network lowered a person’s risk for premature death by 50%.
A. I don’t have many close relationships, and I mostly keep to myself.
B. I have family and friends that I spend time with on a regular basis.
C. My calendar is jam packed with social engagements, and I’m always on the go.
6. What are your smoking habits like?
If you’re a smoker, you might be up to four times more likely to have a stroke or heart disease. Your risk for many cancers is also significantly raised. In fact, tobacco is responsible for roughly 6 million deaths each year.
A. I’m a smoker and I’m not currently trying to quit.
B. I don’t smoke or I’m trying to quit smoking.
Find out where you stand by tallying up your answers to all of the questions above. If you got:
Mostly A’s: You may be aging faster than average and should take some time to reevaluate your overall health and wellness. Try to make healthier diet choices, be more active, and find ways to get more sleep and manage your stress. If possible, make an effort to reach out to others to form closer connections. And consider talking to your doctor about quitting smoking.
Mostly B’s: You’re right on track. You’re likely aging at a normal or slower than average rate. Keep up the good work by continuing to eat and exercise moderately, get enough sleep, keep your stress levels in check and maintain your close relationships.
Mostly C’s: It’s possible that some of your choices could be causing you to age faster, so you might consider scaling back. Try being less restrictive with your diet and exercise at a more moderate rate. Savoring more of life’s pleasures could increase your happiness, which could help you live longer.